Gabby follows her passion at the Latin American Community Center Grand Ball, has a di-vine time at a wine and beer fest in Felton, and legs it out at DSO’s The Night of All Nights bash.
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Night of All Nights
Gabby knew she was in for a treat at the Chase Center when, instead of a polite, smartly dressed doorman ushering her into the grand foyer, she got camels. Real ones, outfitted in luxurious capes of purples, reds and blues, the colors of The Night of all Nights, the Delaware Symphony Orchestra’s gala extravaganza.
The center was turned into an Arabian celebration, with carefully selected art, color themes and delicacies. Some even took a hint from the DSO and dressed accordingly, like Madeleine Nichols, a longtime Wilmingtonian who now lives in New York City. “We’re here to support the arts and to support the people who care so much about them,” she said. A retired curator at the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, Madeline knows a thing or two about throwing soirées. “This job they’ve done is just perfect. Every idea was beautifully executed.”
Dressed in a golden headdress and Arabian-inspired pants, the Nicholses were thrilled to reconnect with Delaware and with old friends, like premiere Lewes painter Victor Letonoff. Guests’ eyes feasted on a palette of plums, reds and oranges, but they got darn full when Alexis DiFonzo strutted by. The Wilmington native wore a plunging V-neck dress of multicolored velvet cinched at the waist by nothing more than a fabulous jewel that sparkled as bright as any star in the Arabian sky.
“My boss, Natasha Latina, owner of Salon Pasca, made this dress,” Alexis said. Natasha, looking the perfect blend of vintage and modern in a black floor-length, beaded gown, explained that the dress was hand-dyed by fellow Delaware native Judy Topkis. “It’s inspired by the aurora borealis,” she said. “We’re going to Paris on Monday to compete in Hair World, and Alexis will wear this dress.”
En route to the show, Gabby was accosted by the call-it-like-she-sees-it Jean Collat of Hockessin, a longtime DSO supporter. “You’ve got fabulous legs,” she said, “not that I’m interested.” After an intro like that, Gabby was interested in her. “I’ll tell you something, and I kid you not about this,” Jean confided. “I know people. Those people will tell you that this is one of the best symphony orchestras in the country. It’s better than Philadelphia’s. I wouldn’t have said that 30 years ago, but I’ll say it tonight.”
A fetching Lee Kimball, executive director of OperaDelaware, was Jean’s date for the evening. “This is a time when the arts really need to support each other,” Lee said. “And our organizations continue to get closer.” How close? Lee went mum, but not before Gabby managed to coax out a little something: “I can’t say too much, but I can say that we are in negotiations about several events that we would do together for the 2011-2012 seasons.”
As entertaining as the cocktail reception was, it had nuthin’ on what awaited guests. Before cueing up, conductor extraordinaire David Amado, bursting with good humor, lamented to the crowd the unfairness of his job that night. “I am so jealous of you guys,” he said. “You get to see the fantastic Cirque Dreams performers, and all I get to look at are slack-jawed, glossy-eyed musicians.” And what a show he missed. The Cirque performers twisted themselves up in bigger question marks than the one Gabby had for one unfortunate red-headed guest who neglected to cut the tag off of her mink stole. Till next time, stay fabulous.